Will genetically improved crops be enough to sustainably feed a booming global population?

Credit: Medium

A growing, increasingly affluent and urban human population is driving demand for more food grown in more-sustainable ways.

Sustainable intensification (SI) refers to an increase in yields on existing land using fewer harmful inputs and with lesser impacts. Different methods and approaches can contribute, from soil conservation and other traditional management techniques to the high-tech use of drones and data to target fertilizers and pesticides.

[Editor’s note: This editorial summarizes a recent issue of Nature Magazine analyzing the sustainable intensification of farming.]

In a Perspective, Cassman and Grassini highlight recent trends — spikes in grain prices, plateauing yield increases on existing land, and conversion of wildlands to farms — to motivate considering SI globally.

Related article:  India's agriculture and biotech agencies announce plan to promote crop biotech research

How can we increase yields while increasing the efficiency of water and nutrient use and reducing soil erosion and greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions? Beyond genetic improvements …. Cassman and Grassini discuss expanding research on production systems in working fields, forming farmer data cooperatives, and monitoring environmental performance at ecologically relevant scales …. Melding agronomy with information technology is the frontier pursuit of digital agriculture, which uses geospatial technologies, sensors and algorithms to target what to grow where and how.

In a Comment, Basso and Antle agree that genetic improvements are necessary but insufficient, arguing for digital approaches to monitor crops and fields to optimize inputs and planting decisions.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend